Last updated: 15 March 2023
Published on: 11 February 2022
6 MINS READ
By Ryan Chua
For many of us, watching American or Korean films on devices made in Japan or China is a daily affair. While the rapid globalisation of media and tech has brought the best content and technologies into our homes, it also presents a need for local infocomm media professionals to gain—and maintain—a competitive edge in the worldwide market.
To drive growth and provide a steady pipeline of talent for Singapore’s tech and media industries, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) offers the Singapore Digital (SG Digital) Scholarship, an industry scholarship which supports the education of aspiring media and tech professionals and provides them opportunities that help to chart and define their careers in these industries. Available for tech or media studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, the scholarship is dedicated to nurturing the talents of promising and passionate students of all ages.
From bringing life to blockbuster Hollywood films to engineering financial tech solutions, the SG:D Scholarship set a solid foundation for Ms Vicki Lau and Mr Ser Jin as they worked their way up in their respective fields. In this feature, find out what sparked their interests in pursuing careers in tech and media, as well as how the SG:D Scholarship helped them build success locally and abroad.
A superhero with the power to bend reality
If the gravity-defying stunts and impressive explosions of superhero films like Aquaman inspire you—you can thank the real visual effects (VFX) superheroes who make these films a reality. When Ms Vicki Lau was just 14 years old, she was given a video camera that set her on the path to video editing. While filming and putting together clips, Ms Lau found both enjoyment and a refreshing new way to express herself.
This soon morphed into her all-consuming passion for post-production VFX. Knowing what she wanted to pursue at a very young age, Ms Lau applied for the Media Education Scholarship, now subsumed under the SG:D Scholarship, as the most suitable inudstry scholarship for her.
“The scholarship was the best match for my industry aspirations and career desires,” Ms Lau shared. “I recall the application process being seamless, straightforward and transparent.”
With support from the IMDA Scholarship, Ms Lau was able to focus solely on her career goals, racking up notable film production credits over the years while freelancing at various studios. Additionally, IMDA also approved a film production grant that allowed Ms Lau to produce an original short film at no personal expense.
“IMDA was very supportive, not just in providing the SG:D Scholarship for my education, they also financially assisted in the creation of my first short film. I was able to produce my short film, The Painter, which screened at several film festivals in the United States.”
Talented and passionate, she graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Visual Effects and received an additional Outstanding Achievement Award from the school.
Besides Aquaman, throughout her digital career, Ms Lau has also worked on other films in Hollywood, like War of the Planet of the Apes. From her more than eight years working with studios and even starting her own company, Ms Lau has observed that diversity in perspective, opinion and insights are crucial in developing Singapore’s media talent and propelling the industry into the future. Through the SG:D Scholarship, IMDA supports students with varying backgrounds and interests—providing a wealth of talent capable of thriving in Singapore and abroad.
Continuing the cycle of support
Similarly, the SG:D Scholarship also nurtured the endeavours of engineer Mr Ser Jin. With the scholarship, Mr Ser was empowered to explore his interest in electronics and circuits and completed both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. During his studies, he came to the realisation that software is ubiquitous in our lives—a fact that birthed his passion for software development.
The SG:D Scholarship gave recipients the flexibility to explore their interests and passion while they are completing their studies – a benefit that Mr Ser appreciated.
“IMDA took very good care of the scholarship recipients and I seized the opportunity to take on very difficult technical classes. I even took a PhD level class in optimisation which gave me the skillset to understand research papers, as well as a course on business Chinese. These have been highly relevant to my current role.”
Currently the Director of Engineering at STACS, Mr Ser puts his education to good use as he manages development of the company’s platform, Vetta. Serving as the nexus of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Finance, the STACS Vetta platform enables global banks, stock exchanges, asset managers and corporates to achieve effective Sustainable Finance, and unlock value in Asset and Wealth Management and Digital Securities
At STACS, Mr Ser harnesses his expertise to bridge business needs, work with clients, achieve long-term scalability, and plan projects. Having had the opportunity to take on difficult courses in university and even file a patent in machine learning during his studies, the rich learning experience Mr Ser gained with the support of the SG:D scholarship equipped him to take on anything within his field and laid the foundation for his current success.
Additionally, he works closely with the engineering team to develop talents and share his knowledge. In fact, IMDA actively recommends SG:D Scholarship recipients to various companies, including STACS, to place them in technical roles and encourage a deeper understanding of the industry.
“Nurturing talent is a necessity to identify future leaders, retain workers and maintain a positive work culture,” Mr Ser shared. “For those who are looking to be involved in technically challenging work in Singapore within the digital space, the scholarship provides relevant exposure.”
As the tech and media industry continues to grow, IMDA provides local talent with numerous opportunities to acquire relevant skills and stay competitive in today’s fast-paced digital world while contributing to the development of Singapore’s economy.
If you are looking to start working towards a digital career in the tech or media industry, click here to find out more about the SG Digital Scholarship!